COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard said Wednesday that he will launch a new church from his Colorado Springs home, 3 1/2 years after he resigned from his ministry amid an embarrassing and devastating sex scandal.
“This is my resurrection day,” he declared.
Haggard said his new venture would not be a megachurch like New Life Church, the congregation he founded in 1985 and then left in 2006 after a male prostitute said Haggard paid him for sex.
Haggard said he doesn’t know how many people will attend his new church, but he said the ordeal he and his wife, Gayle, went through has prepared them to help others.
“I have an incredible heart for broken people,” he said. “I think we’re qualified to hold people’s hands” in times of trouble.
Haggard made his announcement outside his home, a two-story, brick-fronted structure with a large barn, a swimming pool and white-fenced corrals on Colorado Springs’ north side, not far from New Life Church. Wearing an open-neck shirt and jeans, Haggard sounded both optimistic and chastened, calling himself a repentant sinner and a broken man who believes he can still help others.
At his new church, Haggard said he will teach that God intended marriage to be a monogamous union of a man and a woman. But he said heterosexual marriage was just one ideal in a long list of things God wants people to do, including pray, be healthy and stay monogamous.
Haggard said the new church won’t compete with others in Colorado Springs, noting that many people in the city of 375,000 don’t attend any church.